Written by Matthew Young

“They’re just misbehaving. Somebody needs to show them a little discipline!”

“Children are happy by nature! Just let them play and have fun; that’ll take care of everything.”

“If you raise them right, they won’t have all these problems.”

Have you’ve come across these misconceptions and stereotypes about youth mental health? This is Canadian Mental Health Association‘s Mental Health Week 2016 (May 2-8), and it’s a great time to #GETLOUD and raise awareness and challenge the myths.

Studies suggest 15 to 21% of children and youth in Ontario are dealing with at least one mental health concern (A Shared Responsibility: Ontario’s Policy Framework for Child and Youth Mental Health, Government of Ontario, 2006). Homeless youth experience mental health concerns at a rate of 2.5 to 5 times higher than the national average for youth (Mental Health of Youth Experiencing Homelessness, National Learning Community on Youth Homelessness, 2015).

According to the Government of Ontario, common mental health concerns among children and youth include anxiety; attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), also known as attention deficit disorder (ADD); and depression and other mood disorders (Children and youth mental health: signs and symptoms, 2015).

It can be challenging for any young person to access services and supports for mental health, and homeless youth experience additional barriers and stigmas (Mental Health of Youth Experiencing Homelessness, National Learning Community on Youth Homelessness, 2015).

There are more than 400 agencies across Ontario that provide mental health support to youth. To find an organization in your area, you can utilize the Government of Ontario’s Health Care Options Directory. Here are some of the resources, articles, and community supports available.

  • The Government of Ontario’s list of signs and symptoms related to youth mental health.
  • The Mental Health Helpline for all ages, which provides information about counselling services and supports. Call 1-866-531-2600.
  • Across Boundaries, which provides inclusive, compassionate mental health and addiction services for racialized communities. Call 416-787-3007.
  • mindyourmind, a non-profit mental health program that engages youth, emerging adults and the professionals who serve them to co-develop reliable and relevant resources.

Are there more resources we should check out? Please share them with us at communications@evas.ca.

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